Amazing how many "open source voices" and tech writers know nothing about IT business.
The author forgot one reason for Novell to do the patent non-aggression pact with MS, and believe it or not, it's the right one.
As you're most probably not working in an IT business of a non-negligible size nor have IT customers of that size, you don't understand how customers (well, their decision makers) think.
There is most probably no case for patent infringement in Linux distributions, be it SUSE Linux, Debian, Fedora, whatever. That is still Novell's opinion and position (as stated in the FAQ).
The point is that it is not sufficient to the large number of MS shops that have been considering using Linux since some time but are afraid of potential patent litigation claims, because of all the FUD MS and SCO have been spreading.
That's why Novell made that part of the deal with MS. Novell's position is: there is currently no part of the SUSE Linux (or SLES or SLED) distribution that infringes patents, but if there is, at some point, then MS (yes, MS, not Novell, read the announcement again, as well as the FAQ) is giving you a guarantee, as a SLES/SLED customer, that they will not sue *you*. They may still sue Novell, and Novell may still sue MS for patent infringements.
Now, you're calling for a boycott of a Linux distribution that is a combined effort of Novell employees and community members. Those community members have no less merit than the folks contributing to Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, whatever. This is a childish call for a distro war because you happen to like Debian and not SUSE Linux.
That's fine, Debian is a great distribution, and use whatever you like, but bashing the work of people who believe in FOSS and contribute their free time on it is distasteful.
Also, it's "interesting" to see how so many people like to reduce Novell to this one agreement with MS (that is actually an agreement between MS and SLED/SLES customers) and fail to see how Novell contributes to a large number of FOSS projects (Linux kernel, OpenOffice.org, Samba, KDE, GNOME, ... ...).
"This is not religious fanaticism" - this *is* religious fanaticism because all those FUD spreaders fail to read the announcement and Novell's FAQ about it. Instead, they are drawing hypothetical scenarios out of their mind and bully against a FOSS community and a business that is a major contributor to many FOSS projects.
And the point about Novell violating the GPL is just totally wrong. The GPL states that you *may not* publish source code that is known to infringe patents under the GPL unless the right to use those patents is granted to everyone who uses that source code: "Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all."
(GPL v2, Preamble
So, *if* a FOSS project contains source code that is proven to infringe a (valid) patent, the project itself violates the GPL.
If the patent holder is MS, they may still sue the authors for patent infringement.
If that project is included on SUSE Linux/SLED/SLES, MS may still sue Novell for patent infringement.
The deal Novell has made with MS just means that if you are using SLED or SLES, MS will not sue *you* as a customer.